Challenge Lab Examples
Printable Lab Example Checklist
You have at least three opportunities as a student to review your lab work before it is turned in in class.
1) This page is the comprehensive lab resource page that when used by you the student shows you how to complete a lab for science class. Extensive explanations of each lab section are shown below along with examples. Be sure you are working with the version we are using in class. (by quarter)
2) Specific work examples will be reviewed in class to help you visually see what is considered mastery level work and work that is not. The target is to prove you know the science you have been asked to learn.
To start out remember this rule: No lab has an absolute correct or incorrect answer, it is how you do the lab and report your findings that show you have mastered the lab investigation at hand. Sometimes as a teacher I may ask for a written report, other times your group may do an oral report, or report your findings in other ways. No matter how you report your findings you have to have some critical parts that help you show mastery of the concept in the lab. But, remember do not be afraid to be wrong, stick by your research remember 90% of the time a scientist tries an experiment they often get an unexpected answer.
Listed below are a few things that are often forgotten about but reflect your ability to prove you have mastered the target of completing a quality lab that con prove mastery of the lab topic:
1) Name: Is it on the paper
2) Organization: A scientist has to be organized while we may all have or own ways of showing organization, it is critical that work be presents in a logical organized way. The best way is to insure you have the parts you need is to follow the order of: a) Question/ Problem presented first, b) The Hypothesis stated second, c) Defined variables third, d) Observations fourth, e) Conclusions presented last.
Organization is a process that for some takes time to master, often times this is a great use of homework time. It is simple to take a few minutes at home to assure yourself you have things organized.
3) A Report to be Proud Of: Why invest so much time in class to investigate and complete a lab and not reflect it in your work? You should be proud of the investment you have made and should wish to show that in your work. This part of a quality lab would mean: Lab is typed or written in a legible manner, it is not simply torn out of a notebook. Observation are listed in organized form, and your written work is complete enough to allow the teacher to understand your thoughts and conclusions ( and for you to remember) that you came up with on the lab.
The Science Parts: (Quarter One)
This is the part of the lab that helps to show that you understand the experiment and have come up with some conclusions. What is listed below is the expectation for 1st quarter. As the year progresses look for the " The Science Parts" to continue to expand.
Perhaps the easiest part of the lab but often overlooked. The question is simply stating what it is that you are interested in investigating. Most times in class the teacher will give the question to you. For example: Why are some leaves on trees green? The question is generally not very specific and does not show any possible answer to the question, that hypothesis will do that.
Another often overlooked part of an experiment but possibly the most important. The Hypothesis is a proposed answer to your Question. In our case example: Why are some leaves on trees green?
Trees are green because of a special chemical called Chlorophyll
Note how the Hypothesis clearly defines one possible answer that can be tested for. In this case we can test to see if chlorophyll causes that green color in leaves. It takes some practice to get good at creating a good Hypothesis.
If you write a good Hypothesis you will often find that your variables may already be defined. In our Hypothesis above we
Observations are the heart of any experiment. Observations are nothing more than what you "see" in your lab. Observation come in two forms Quantitative and Qualitative.
Quantitative: Any observation that has a number associated with it like a measurement. -- It is 3 meters long -- It is 95% of its capacity
Qualitative: Any observation that has a "quality" associated with it and most often comes from your senses. -- It is green in color -- It smells very bad
Remember that observations may also come from research form the internet and books, not all your information would need to come directly from the experiment you do in class, getting information from all the scientist that have done work before you may help to answer your question. In fact this is the most common type of way you get answers to question in school.
Observations should be organized into groups (how is often left up to you) to show comprehensive amounts of information gained in the lab. If you do not write observations down while doing your lab it is impossible to remember all that you saw happen in a lab. This again is a good use of homework time. Take quick notes during the lab and use time at home to collect your thoughts, expand and organize your observations.
So you have done all the things above correct? Well it is time for your conclusion. A good conclusion must have the following parts:
a) Restate what it is you tested for.
From our Hypothesis above, The green color is caused by the chemical chlorophyll. So you may write something like: In our experiment that we conducted we tested to find if chlorophyll was the cause of green color in plant leaves.
b)Clearly tell if your hypothesis (answer to your question) was correct or not.
Yes we found that chlorophyll does the green color in plants.
Notice how this answer is only based on the Hypothesis it offers no speculation as to what another answer is, after all you only tested for in our example if it was chlorophyll or not. Do not speculate. Remember the rule above if you think you have an incorrect answer do not make up something base your stance your experimental observation only.
C) The Data
At this point in your conclusion you have stated if your hypothesis was found to be correct or not. This answer must be backed up by specific observations form your lab, do not make up observations or speculate on things. When writing this part of the conclusion a good way to be correct is to write something like:
We believe that chlorophyll causes the green color in plants because we found that as we subjected the plant to different light levels we found variations in the leaves color. (This information could come from your experiment)
We found from our textbook that chlorophyll is a light sensitive chemical that will actually change in the presents of different light levels. ( This is the type of information that comes from research)
Bringing your experimental observations and your researched observations together will provide all the support you need to show why you came up with the conclusion that you did.
Second quarter lab expectations expand on the foundation that was built in first quarter. In second quarter the lab expectation expands in the critical area of a procedure.
6) Procedure: How you are going to do the lab.
The procedure offers an explanation of your experimental design, along with critical material, and how the experiment fits together.
In science it is critical that other scientists who read your experiment can duplicate the results (answer) you have suggested to your hypothesis.
A good procedure